Instead of taking advantage of multiple trade options with second pick, the Tennessee Titans kept the selection and choose Oregon QB Marcus Mariota. The wait for Titans fans to see him start will likely be short. You have to go back to JaMarcus Russell in ’07 to find a Top-5 quarterback selection that didn’t immediately start – sorry Zach Mettenberger.
With Tampa selecting FSU’s Jameis WInston with the top pick the 2015 draft marks the sixth time quarterbacks were selected with the first two picks since the AFL-NFL merger. Unless you believe that RG3 will regain his rookie season form (in which Griffin, not Andrew Luck was the Rookie of the Year in 2012), history doesn’t bode well for one of these two teams.
In ’71 Jim Plunkett and Archie Manning both turned out to be good quarterbacks, but neither provided the team that drafted them much success. Plunkett never delivered a winning season for the Pats going 23-38, and while you won’t find anyone in New Orleans to blame Archie, Manning never led the Saints to a winning record going 35-91-3. In ’93 Bledsoe produced, Mirer was a bust. in ’98 there was Peyton Manning, and Ryan Leaf – how’d that work out San Diego? in ’99 The Browns started their 2nd era in Cleveland whiffing on Tim Couch, while the Eagles picked Donovan McNabb.
From my perspective, the Titans selection of Mariota puts more pressure on Ken Whisenhunt. Typically, a rookie QB gives the head coach some rope to build under the franchises future, but I think Whisenhunt’s rope was shortened with this selection.
As for the Jags, most thought the team would select Florida Gator edge rusher Dante Fowler, Jr. – including Fowler himself. Rather than provide another weapon for last year’s top pick – quarterback Blake Bortles, Jacksonville decided to upgrade the 26th ranked defense in 2014. While the Jags did finish 22nd (just behind the Texans) allowing 244 passing yards per game, the did finish 6th in the NFL with 45 sacks.
If I look at these selections with the “red and blue glasses” of a Texans fan, I like both picks. Mariota may end up being a great NFL QB, I just don’t see it happening in Tennessee under Ken Whisenhunt. The Titans are LOADED with needs and should have taken the best offer and traded the pick for the opportunity to add quality at more positions. As for Jacksonville, I can’t see how Fowler, Jr. can provide a greater impact than Amari Cooper – who went to the Raiders with the fourth pick. If the Jags had selected Cooper that would have provided Bortles three solid weapons in the passing game (I include Marqise Lee and Julius Thomas) which should have helped an offense that finished last in points per game and 31st in passing yards per game in ’14.
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